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What Is Advanced Threat Protection?

Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) constitutes a segment of security solutions designed to shield sensitive data from intricate cyber threats, encompassing malware, phishing endeavors, and similar risks. ATP commonly amalgamates cloud security, email security, endpoint security, and other elements to fortify an organization’s defenses amidst the ever-evolving threat landscape. Fortunately, as attack surfaces broaden and novel cyber threats and attack vectors surface, cybersecurity technology is progressing beyond conventional firewalls and network security measures.

What Is Advanced Threat Protection

What Makes a Threat “Advanced?

A threat earns the label of being advanced due to several factors. For instance:

  • Perpetrators possess ample resources or tools to execute an attack and sustain access to a network indefinitely.
  • Attackers have easy access to funding, enabling them to modify their attacks as required.
  • Attacks are tailored to target a particular organization.


Now, let’s provide further context on advanced threats across their different forms.

Advanced Persistent Threats

An advanced persistent threat (APT), not to be confused with ATP, refers to an attack where an intruder quietly infiltrates an organization’s network, establishing a lasting presence without detection for an extended duration. APTs typically target specific companies and employ sophisticated malware capable of evading common security measures. These attacks are highly complex and necessitate equally sophisticated defense strategies.

Once access to a target network is achieved, usually through methods such as credential phishing or malware, attackers may gain entry to a wide array of company data, private conversations, and other sensitive materials. If left undetected for prolonged periods—weeks, months, or even years—they can accumulate vast amounts of data for malicious intents.

What Are the Benefits of Advanced Threat Protection?

In the contemporary threat landscape, ATP enables a proactive response to threats. Unlike conventional security products, which are often isolated and designed for singular purposes, today’s most effective tools operate collaboratively to provide:

  • Real-time threat visibility: With the escalating volume of threats, waiting for scheduled scans is no longer feasible. Effective advanced threat protection continuously monitors all network traffic, unlike traditional antivirus solutions.
  • Shared cloud intelligence: Updating security measures manually can be inconvenient or even unfeasible. Cloud-based threat intelligence allows for instantaneous dissemination of threat information, ensuring that when a threat is thwarted in one location, it is blocked everywhere.
  • Centralized context and correlation: Leveraging advanced AI, security measures now offer a comprehensive understanding of security incidents in real-time. This facilitates faster threat detection, prevention, and remediation for security teams.

What Are the Most Common Advanced Attack Methods?

Advanced attacks typically employ several fundamental techniques that are commonly utilized by malicious actors to achieve their objectives. The primary techniques include:

  • Phishing: This tactic involves enticing a user to click on a link from what appears to be a trustworthy source, thereby granting access to company credentials or sensitive information. It is the predominant method used by APT attackers to infiltrate internal networks.
  • Malware Installation: Cyberattackers use malware to delve deeper into a network after gaining initial access, allowing them to monitor activities and gather company data. Malware installation often occurs through phishing attempts.
  • Password Cracking: Attackers employ password cracking techniques to gain administrative access within a network, granting them unrestricted control.
  • Backdoor Creation: Creating a backdoor ensures that attackers can re-enter the network if necessary, providing them with continued access even after leaving temporarily.

How Does Advanced Threat Protection Work?

Advanced threat protection solutions are designed to identify and counter advanced threats proactively, preventing data loss or any other detrimental impact on your organization. Although the specific features may differ among service providers, typical components of ATP solutions include:

  • Network traffic analysis, which continuously monitors network activity for signs of security breaches or abnormal operations.
  • Threat intelligence sharing, enabling all customers of a particular provider to benefit from the same level of protection against emerging threats.
  • Sandboxing, a technique used to detect and quarantine suspicious files for thorough analysis and response.

How To Protect Against Advanced Threats?

Enterprise ATP solutions often incorporate sandboxing to defend against advanced threats. With sandboxing, suspicious files undergo examination within a secure environment isolated from the network, allowing cyber defense teams to analyze them thoroughly.

However, sandboxing alone cannot protect a system from all threats. Therefore, it is essential not only to leverage other tools like next-generation firewalls (NGFWs) but also to educate users within your company about the importance of:

  • Avoiding clicking on suspicious links or downloading unknown files.
  • Refraining from sharing sensitive login information with unauthorized individuals.
  • Ensuring the security of their passwords.

Understanding the Scale of Today’s Advanced Threats

The level of advanced threats encountered by organizations today varies based on their attack surface, vulnerabilities, and the attractiveness of their assets to potential attackers.

Some organizations may inadvertently under-protect their systems by failing to fully identify all aspects of their attack surface. Conversely, other companies might over-invest in overly robust systems, leading to wasteful expenditure that could be better allocated elsewhere.

Measuring and Monitoring the Effectiveness of Your Current Security

Establishing metrics to gauge the effectiveness of your existing security solution is crucial. For certain companies, making minor adjustments or additions to the current system may suffice to enhance its adequacy. However, in other cases, a comprehensive overhaul may be required.

Leveraging Your Vendor’s Expertise to Optimize Your Current Installation

While your internal IT team possesses significant knowledge about your tools, your Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) or another vendor likely has even deeper insights. Take advantage of their expertise to optimize your system configuration for maximum return on investment.

Taking a Network-based Approach for Comprehensive Threat Visibility

The most effective defense strategy for organizations involves achieving comprehensive network-wide visibility. This includes continuous analysis of all network traffic, endpoints, and connected devices throughout their lifecycle.

Implementing a Lifecycle Defense Instead of Fragmented Solutions

A lifecycle defense strategy entails deploying a closed-loop system that examines the entire lifecycle of a threat and the data traversing your network. By tracing these lifecycles, you can monitor the threat’s behavior from initiation to resolution, including the network path that may expose vulnerabilities to threats.


In today’s ever-evolving threat landscape, Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) solutions play a critical role in defending organizations against sophisticated cyber threats like malware and phishing. By integrating various security elements, ATP offers real-time threat visibility and centralized correlation, empowering organizations to detect and respond to threats effectively. However, it’s crucial for organizations to continually assess their security posture, leverage vendor expertise, and adopt a network-centric approach to ensure robust protection against evolving cyber threats. Embracing these strategies and technologies enables organizations to strengthen their defenses and remain resilient in the face of emerging threats.


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